A Leaf Trip to Atlanta

By Guest Author Rudy Singh

“I think we have enough miles to reach Cornelia…” said Dad – were the words used by my daughter to start off her story about our trip to Atlanta with the Nissan Leaf.     Paying no attention to my wife’s warnings about heavy rain in Northeast Georgia, I left the Kia dealership Chademo in Gainesville with 77% charge. For some reason, the charger had shut down after twenty minutes, so I decided to venture on to Cornelia, about 22 miles away – a decision, I would somewhat regret later.

The trip down to Atlanta, GA two days previous had been long. However, we made it safely with only one anxious low battery moment – saved by the charger at a grocery store in north Gainesville, some 60 miles downhill from Clayton. Clayton was the weak link.   The Blink Chademo in Clayton, while looking beautiful was off line!   Instead, we relied on the adjacent Level 2 to bring us back up to 79% charge, while we ate dinner.

They say if you want to test the durability of something, give it the harshest conditions and see how it responds.   This was my motto as we left Asheville on a very stormy weekend. After picking up my daughter from school, with dog and stuff packed in we headed west for Waynesville, NC.   At the Greenlots Chademo on Depot Street, I topped off the Leaf to 90% and then headed on to Franklin, NC. I had estimated that there was enough battery energy to reach Clayton, GA. However, I had noticed a Level 2 charger on the Plug Share app at a Chevy dealership in Franklin. Perhaps we could pick a few more miles at the dealership just in case… The people at the dealership were very friendly. As I picked up a few more miles on the car, we chatted about the new Volt and GM’s electric truck.

The car drove like a dream the whole way, but we were relieved to reach Gainesville after a close call. We spent 40 minutes at the grocery charger and then headed 6 miles down the road to the Kia dealership where we bombarded the battery pack with fast moving electrons from the Chademo! After having to sit many hours at several Level 2 chargers, I sure appreciated these super fast chargers.

Hoping that the roads had not flooded, in pitch darkness we drove across Lake Lanier and entered Alpharetta around 11:30 pm. The trip had taken 9 hours – twice the time that it would usually take with an ICE car.   However, we had not used a drop of gas!

Atlanta is a hub of electric cars and charging stations – many more networks than I thought existed! For example, within a mile of our hotel, there was an nrg EVgo Chademo station at a AAA service station. The cost is high at $9 per half hour, but it was easy enough for me to go “gas up” to above 80% and come back for breakfast.

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With an 85 mile range (according to EPA), Leafs are not designed to travel long distances. But the purpose of this trip was two fold – to see if I could get to Atlanta and to visit the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, just north of Atlanta.   The museum was great!   The Dinosaur exhibit was incredible. But of special note was this:

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I had to touch the body of the great ancestor EV1! It was exhilarating!

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On the way back from Cartersville, we stopped at a pharmacy and took a few hours on yet another network: Sema Charge, while we perused the adjacent hardware store.

The weather projections for Sunday were heavy rain and wind – a perfect day to drive back home in an electric car! The trip back to Gainesville was uneventful and I thought we would make it back home pretty quickly – no problem. There were two Level 2 stations in Cornelia and if I needed to top off, I could do it there while we looked at the shops by the train depot.   At the Kia dealership in Gainesville, I lost signal on my phone and could not call Greenlots after the Chademo stopped charging.   With 77% charge, I was sure we could reach Cornelia to recharge enough for the trip to Clayton.

As we drove up Hwy 23 towards Cornelia, the rain was constant, but not heavy.   However, I did see some downed trees on the side of the highway.   As we exited onto Hwy 105 in Cornelia, there was spooky feeling.   The lights at the intersection were not working!   I started to drive towards the train depot and noticed that all of the lights were not working! Oh no! I needed to top off and there was no electricity. Even the big box store had closed its doors. Then there was Walt, the ex-Nissan salesman that I met in the parking lot. He informed me that two places down the road had power.   Perhaps they would share some – Not! They were operating on generator back-up and would not share an amp.

Thus, with rain pouring down and 30 miles left on the meter, we headed for Clayton, which was about 34 miles away. 10 miles further up, we saw a gas station with the sign, “last gas for 22 miles”. The car read 19 miles, but Clayton was 24 miles away. “We do not have any plugs outside” said the owner after I had seen a juicy 110 volt in the back of the station. Incidentally at the same gas station I met two students from the college. “Hi Professor” one student chirped. “What are you doing here?” I nonchalantly replied, not wanting to be obvious about my precarious situation. Boy, I was tempted to ask them to stay close and tow us to Clayton if necessary.   Instead I carped “Oh I drove my electric car to Atlanta and it was great!” Yeah right! I was about to run out of power and be stranded in the rain – in the middle of nowhere.

Range anxiety is not a myth and for a brief period on Sunday, I experienced this terrible feeling.   Driving much below the limit of 55mph, we chugged slowly up past Toccoa, which was out of power and then to Tallulah Falls. I vaguely remember seeing a station at the Tallulah Falls state park when my phone was working. Thus, with the blank lines across the range-meter on the dash, we entered the park not knowing how many miles were left. “We’re out of power as well.” said the Park Ranger. Crap – the drive up to the highway was at least a mile and I had about 2% charge left, having captured some energy on the way down. “But there is a private resort park close by that may have power. It’s about a mile down the road on the right and they just opened to the public!” On our way up the long state park driveway, we met a white Leaf. They were from Clayton, 10 miles away, the driver assured us. At the highway, we turned right and headed towards Clayton.

A mile down the road on the right we entered the resort campground.   “How much power do you need?” The nice lady at the desk enquired.   “There’s an outlet right behind the cabin.”

“Hallelujah”, she was our savior! Sure it was only 110 volt , but it was better than being stranded.   We thanked her plugged in and took a stroll through the park:

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The weather cleared up slightly and the campground was great place to spend a Sunday afternoon!

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Just after 4 o’clock we unplugged, and after promising to come back camping headed to Clayton 8 miles away. The range-meter read 15 miles and 12% SOC. However, the drive to Clayton was mostly uphill and that can really draw down the battery! Those were the longest 8 miles I have ever driven.   As we climbed, the meter kept dropping… We were not going make it. The first set of traffic lights into Clayton were far ahead and then the last bar disappeared! 0 and 0 – I was waiting for turtle mode!

We inched into Clayton still in green mode, hoping I remembered where to turn off to go to the station. Left on Savannah, right on Main, left by the restaurant – Ah! We had reached the Blink god in the parking lot!   Never again would I charge the car to less than 100%

It took 4 hours and twenty minutes to bring us back up to 99%. In the meantime, we ate dinner, had dessert and walked around the town. For the last few hours, my wife read her book, my daughter finished her homework and I reviewed some differential equations!  I also had a chance to fix the error with the Greenlots card, courtesy of wifi at the restaurant. An extreme sense of guilt overcame me for torturing my family with this EV obsession. Maybe a gas back up was not such a bad thing. No never – I am a purist!

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Out of “gas” in Clayton.

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A nice town to spend 4 hours in…

We left Clayton at about 8:50pm and with 99% charge, I was confident we could get back to Waynesville.

There are two main climbs on the way to Waynesville, Cowee Mountain between Franklin and Sylva and Balsam Mountain that takes you into Waynesville. Although, Cowee is a bear to climb, the Leaf handled it nicely and the car almost gained as much coming back down as it had lost going up. However, Balsam was a terror.   The rain started to pour and the road work made it hard to see — it seemed to never end! Finally, we passed under the Parkway and were home free.

Back to Depot Street in Waynesville, NC.   Unfortunately, the Chademo would not work. There was an error code.   Oh no – so close to home and yet so far!   The car had 29 miles, but we needed more to make it back to the north of Asheville.   Would we have to stay in Waynesville overnight?

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Depot Street in Waynesville.

Luckily, I was able to call the company this time.   The problem was the emergency stop button on the charger – somebody had pushed it in and forgot to reset it.   Thank goodness!

Around midnight we waltzed into our home having completed our maiden trip to Atlanta.   Yes, it was trying at times, but we had just completed a 400+ mile ride in 2 days though hostile gas country, with an 85 mile range electric car.   Not bad I say, not bad at all! Next trip: Chapel Hill:)

Life in a Leaf – a Nissan Leaf Adventure

In July of 2015 I documented a full weekend of travels in my 2012 Nissan Leaf.

I did this to show anyone and everyone interested in the Nissan Leaf, or in driving electric, just how I use this remarkable plug-in electric vehicle on a daily basis.

What you will see in the video is a typical summer weekend for me driving my Nissan Leaf EV.

All video footage was recorded by myself and friend Pierce Curren as we traveled between Brevard and Asheville North Carolina over July 4th weekend 2015.

Lengthy travel segments have been compressed using time-lapse techniques.

Enjoy.

Please visit Pierce’s Scaly Adventures and learn more about Pierce and his families mission to educate the world about the truth of wildlife, animals and the people that are working to conserve, protect and understand them via his true reality TV show Pierce’s Scaly Adventures.

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers and Narayanaya used with permission.

Video by Steve O’Neil and Pierce Curren of Pierce’s Scaly Adventures.

Editing by Steve O’Neil of Earthshine Nature Programs.

 

The Wonders of Regeneration

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It is a known fact among EV owners that their cars use regenerative breaking systems to help charge the car’s battery and extend its range.  Regenerative breaking is defined as:

“In a battery-powered electric vehicle, regenerative braking (also called regen) is the conversion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy into chemical energy stored in the battery, where it can be used later to drive the vehicle. It is braking because it also serves to slow the vehicle. It is regenerative because the energy is recaptured in the battery where it can be used again.” Source Firmware Engineer Tesla Motors.  Read more of Greg’s great article on regen here.

“Vehicles driven by electric motors use the motor as a generator when using regenerative braking: it is operated as a generator during braking and its output is supplied to an electrical load; the transfer of energy to the load provides the braking effect. Regenerative braking is used on hybrid gas/electric automobiles to recoup some of the energy lost during stopping. This energy is saved in a storage battery and used later to power the motor whenever the car is in electric mode.” Source Wikipedia

Regenerative Breaking mechanisms have been used for over a century, have a very fascinating history, have many very interesting applications including early experimentation with the Amitron and Voltswagon concept cars by AMC.  Regenerative systems developed by are now used on the worlds best selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf and all other EV’s and hybrids on the roads today.

An interesting video on how the Nissan Leaf’s power/regen system works:

I have owned my 2012 Nissan Leaf now for 13 months and have been keeping detailed daily notes on SOC, distance driven, temperature and other data points of interest. Recently I started taking notes on the regeneration that my car produces during my daily commute. Specifically a the 3.4 mile section of my commute that is almost all downhill (see a graphic representation of the route below).

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Map from www.mapmyride.com

The question

Recently I began to wonder just how far per day this 3.4 mile descent with 845 feet of elevation loss would take me on braking and gravity produced free fuel.  In the hopes of answering that question with some degree of accuracy I developed an experiment with the procedure listed below.

Every day I used in the experiment I drove as I do on a normal day; in ECO mode and with all possible environmental variables such as road conditions, traffic conditions, different routes*, elevation loss or gain, temperature, humidity, wind resistance, tire resistance, speed, accessories used, and others variables in order to keep it as real world as possible.  *I do not drive the same route every day due to errands I often to run after work.

UPDATE 1/25/15; Speaking of environmental variables effecting regeneration, on one recent occasion I had to drive the 3.4 miles section of route immediately after a motor-grader had scraped the road.  The road surface was the consistency of something like thick beach sand mixed with damp oatmeal.  The car bogged down a bit but powered through it but the regenerative breaking system was practically useless since I had to keep gently accelerating in order to keep moving forward.  At the bottom of the 3.4 mile route I had regenerated only 1 mile of range.  I am sure this will lower my overall average just a bit once I recalculate the numbers at some point this spring but science can be a harsh mistress.

The data (so far)

Regenerated potential range at the end of the route for seven days during November 2014

16.0, 14.0, 11.0,13.0, 7.0,14.0,15.0

= 90/7 = 12.85 average miles of potential range regenerated per day.

However, as we EV drivers know, this potential driving range is not an accurate representation of real world driving range due to the variables mentioned previously. In the attempt to deduce just how far in reality the car would go on the regenerated power from the 3.4 mile daily descent, I needed to calculate the distance the car would travel before reaching the pre-route SOC on the GOM (my Leaf is a 2012 so it does not show battery state of charge as a percent–it is a calculated guess by the on-board computer of mileage remaining based on vehicle system health, environmental conditions and driving style.)

The procedure

I first recorded the SOC from the GOM at the top of the route, drove the 3.4 mile route, stopped at the bottom and recorded the number of regenerated miles, reset the trip odometer to 0 and drove until I had reached the first recorded SOC from the top of the route.

The results

The resulting number is the real world miles driven on Leaf regenerated free fuel.  The 7 day adjusted test results are listed below:

16.5, 9.0, 13.1, 7.5, 8.0, 8.7, 9.3

= 72.1/7 = 10.3* average miles of potential range regenerated per day!

*I continue to keep a daily record of regeneration on this route, so this number will change as I average in those numbers.  In the spring of 2015, I will post an update to this story with the updated findings.

Based on the data for the short time period in question, the results seem to indicate that during this 3.4 mile descent my car generates an average of 10.5 miles of potential real world range per work day when driving this route. This data also suggests that the Leaf often powers itself home for free since the route is only 9.3 miles in length from the bottom of the descent to my home.  I have documented this fact many times when upon reaching home the SOC is at or above the starting SOC when I left work.

This ads up to a substantial amount of Leaf produced free fuel, but how much in a year is possible?

10.3 miles per day!

10.3 x 5=51.5 miles per week.

51.5 x 4 = 206 miles per month.

206 x 12 = 2472 miles of Leaf generated free electric fuel per year.

If these numbers are accurate, then my car, simply by rolling downhill on the same 3.4 mile route described above, for 5 days each week, regenerates enough power in a year to power itself for the equivalent of two months worth of driving*, all freely powered by the Nissan Leaf!  *I drive an average of 300 miles per week (300 x 8 = 2400)

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I use a Kill A Watt meter to keep track of my Leaf’s power consumption.

How much has this potentially saved me in power costs for the Leaf?

Driving my leaf costs an average of .03 per mile so .03 x 2472 = 74.16

$74.16 potentially saved each year just driving home from work every day!

And this is only for this one route.  I drive several other routes where I pull a good amount of regeneration from long descents so I wonder how much am I saving in power costs from those routes?

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In a rough comparison, if I had to drive my 1999 Toyota 4Runner the same distance that my Leaf has driven on freely produced regenerative power, it would have taken me around 8 tanks of gas and cost me around $360.00 in gas at current fuel prices of $2.84/gal!  (2472 miles at 2.84 (per gallon) x 16 gallons = $45.44 x 8 (tanks) = $363.52)

WOW!

Let’s just think about this fact – is there a consumer available, stock built, gasoline or diesel powered vehicle anywhere that will produce it’s own fuel. No. The facts are in: petroleum powered vehicles only take hard earned money from the owner, give nothing back but a ride, require lots of expensive fuel and maintenance, are often noisy, contribute to a polluted environment, enable the continued destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems through oil drilling/strip mining and pipeline construction in fragile environments, are not energy secure, and even fund terrorism.  EV’s give so much back, have very low maintenance costs, are quiet and fun to drive, can be fueled on domestically generated energy and renewable energy generated at home or work and are therefore energy secure, do not fund terrorism, and produce a portion of their own fuel…for free!  It is no wonder that some automakers, fossil fuel corporations and their supporters, and certain oil soaked politicians, are afraid of EV’s and will stop at nothing to ruin their image with negative ad campaigns and tactics.

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The simple reality is this; while the currently available electric vehicles do have some range limitations, they are far better in so many ways than petroleum powered vehicles.  Given time, advancements in battery technology, expanded charging infrastructure, and the support from the people and our purchasing power, the EV will one day dominate the roads. Once a person drives an EV and experiences the joy of driving electric, freedom from the gas pump and from years of costly maintenance, more money in their pocket, the resulting cleaner air and environment that comes from driving EV, and with the ever growing option of powering their EV from home generated renewable energy such as solar, wind and micro-hydro–they will see that driving electric is the better choice and will hopefully trade in or recycle their old gas guzzler in favor of the future of transportation, the EV.

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 DRIVE ELECTRIC!

The Blue Ridge EV Club meeting at the BrightfieldTS solar charging canopy on Charlotte St. in Asheville, NC.

 

 

 

 

I have been Coal Rolled..sort of.

Well, it had to happen eventually, I’ve been “coal rolled”…well, sort of.

The photos embedded within the story that follows are sad examples of “coal rolling,” a “practice of intentionally disabling the Clean Burn Programming of a computer controlled diesel engine, and/or installing a “defeat device” similar to the one Volkswagen illegally and secretly developed for millions of its vehicles.  This device illegally allows the vehicle to emit an under-aspirated fuel-rich sooty exhaust that visibly pollutes the air.

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Practitioners tamper with their vehicles’ emissions controls in open defiance of environmental regulations that require all gas and diesel powered vehicles to have emission control devices and systems that reduce the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere. It also may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter. Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing “smoke switches,” huge tailpipes, and smokestacks. Modifications to a vehicle to enable it to “roll coal” may cost anywhere from $200 to $5,000…or more.  Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous pollution. Targets of rolling coal often include owners of hybrid vehicles (and now EV’s) as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. (From Wikipedia) 

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My story.

A few days ago I was driving my 2012 Nissan Leaf through the small town I call home when I pulled up to a traffic light to wait for it to change. After sitting silently in traffic for a moment I began to hear the unmistakable sound of an idling diesel engine growing louder to the left rear quarter of my Leaf. I glanced in my rear view only to see a large, raised, black, pick up truck with over-sized tires and a huge chrome exhaust pipe sticking out of the undercarriage in front of the right rear wheel (clearly he must have been compensating for something…). A red alert klaxon Captain James Kirk would be proud of went off in my head: COAL ROLLER! I rolled up the windows and set the climate control on recirculate to keep the inevitable black clouds of toxic carcinogenic diesel soot and ash out of my car’s cabin and out of my lungs. The light changed and I made a split second decision to take action and remove myself from the situation so I dropped out of Eco mode, actuated the accelerator firmly to the deck plate, and was silently, smoothly, and rapidly suctioned into the future leaving the quaking dinosaur-like diesel danger far behind in my clean, statically charged dust while grinning ear to ear the EV grin. I moved silently through traffic for a few moments and was unfortunately stopped behind a slow-moving old vehicular construct from the 1970’s and yet another traffic light. A few seconds later the gaudy environmental perpetrator idled up beside me rolling and rumbling slowly forward to get his behemoth of a truck in just the right position to angle his tailpipe in the direction of the front left corner of my Leaf.

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We sat there waiting for the light to change: in one lane a massive, towering, shaking Goliath of a vehicle that Mad Max would have been proud of.  It was idling so roughly that I could see the entire truck vibrate with the controlled internal combustion chaos going on in the climate science and common sense denier modified, oil-soaked innards of its massive, Cummings turbo-diesel powerplant. In the other lane, I sat, like the proverbial David, in my tiny, silent, futuristic, 100% electric car. When the light changed Mr. Diesel dropped all the ancient dinosaur juice and testosterone filled spite he had into his illegally modified, anti-environment, fossil burning, ultra-conservative, big wheeled statement and out came…a tiny, rather insignificant, little puff of black smoke. I grinned -something had clearly gone wrong with his truck’s coal rolling modifications and with his attempt to drench my Leaf in billowing clouds of dirty black diesel smoke.  I couldn’t stop grinning as he sped away thinking he had made some sort of an anti-green, anti-Obama, anti-environment, anti-EV, hateful statement. From my perspective, Mr. Diesel’s childish display of blowing smoke seemed to backfire on him miserably and for that, I am forever grateful.  Did he learn a lesson from our encounter…highly doubtful.  He probably returned home to boast and brag about his (failed) knuckle-dragging childishness to all his diesel soaked friends while posting stupid memes online likes the ones below.

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This was my first Coal Rolling experience since owning my Nissan Leaf so I decided that “retaliation” was in order so instead of flying off the handle and doing something as idiotic as the “coal rolling” infant by chasing him down and repeatedly stepping on the maggots face – I did some in-depth research on the topic and report on it below.

My findings

According to many readily available articles:  the “Coal Rolling” culture is a juvenile attempt to build up the egos of anti-environmentalists and toxically masculine often ultra-conservatives who feel that their “God-given freedoms” are being trodden upon.  Many of these misguided individuals are afraid that the stricter pollution regulations imposed by the recent advances in technologies, the Obama administration, and common sense in general, may cause them to lose some of their access the ultra consumptive, garishly ignorant lifestyles they have become accustomed to.

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Another possibility is that with more and more people becoming more and more informed and conscious of the damaging realities of air pollution and the links between diesel exhaust and many forms of cancer, and the indisputable scientific facts and findings in support of anthropogenic global climate change being caused primarily by our daily actions of burning fossil fuels for energy, and with more people becoming aware of their own carbon footprints and their resulting impacts on the environment – and therefore many are now switching to hybrid and electric vehicles, tiny houses, renewable energy sources, dropping meat from their diets, and growing their own food–all of this common sense goodness could be yet another huge cause for concern for the Coal Rolling crowd.  They see that their “kind”, their “people,” as a soon to be endangered species that are going the way of the very dinosaurs that power their toxic smoke belching giant wheeled phallically compensatory beasts so it is possible that their childish coal rolling displays are a visible way of rebelling against the inevitable change closing in from all sides.  IMHO coal rollers are just grown up children throwing temper tantrums because they do not want to grow up and face the facts of life.

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Whatever the juvenile and narcissistic reasons behind why they “roll coal,” what they are really doing are celebrating an act of the pre-meditated polluting of theirs and everyone else’s shared atmosphere. Coal rolling is a blatant disregard for the safety and health of the perpetrator, other drivers, pedestrians, wildlife and the environment and in every way, this practice should be illegal and banned everywhere.

This may happen sooner rather than later as the coal rollers obviously do not think before they roll.  Proof can be found in this article where New Jersey Assemblyman and Leaf driver Tim Eustace was targeted by a Coal Roller and now Eustace aims to work to make it illegal in his state. He has announced a bill that forbids coal rolling.  Read more about it here.  In fact, it is now illegal everywhere according to the EPA as reported in this article  –

It is a violation of the [Clean Air Act] to manufacture, sell, or install a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device. For example, computer software that alters diesel fuel injection timing is a defeat device. Defeat devices, which are often sold to enhance engine performance, work by disabling a vehicle’s emission controls, causing air pollution. As a result of EPA enforcement, some of the largest manufacturers of defeat devices have agreed to pay penalties and stop the sale of defeat devices.

The CAA prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer. A vehicle’s emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines. EPA works with manufacturers to ensure that they design their components with tamper-proofing, addresses trade groups to educate mechanics about the importance of maintaining the emission control systems, and prosecutes cases where significant or imminent harm is occurring.

So there you have it, the act of deliberately modifying your vehicle’s emission control system/engine to emit clouds of smoke is in fact illegal so if you are a coal roller you are  intentionally breaking the law so it is time you face the facts – you and your garish disregard for others will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

WARNING

If you drive an EV, Hybrid, bicycle, horse, or are just out for a stroll or run, keep your eyes and ears open for these small minded, backward thinking, environmental scofflaws full of toxic masculinity piloting their giant trucks because they target not only EV’s, hybrids and other small, fuel-efficient vehicles but also pedestrians, officers of the law, people of color, the LBGTQ community, and even the elderly. These “coal rolling” individuals clearly have serious and twisted mental issues and need some professional help.  If you are “coal rolled” try your best to get a description of the vehicle, tag number, and report it to the police. If enough people report this insanity to the authorities, hopefully, the perpetrators will slowly become extinct like the dinosaurs they love to burn.

Funnyman Stephen Colbert did a hilarious and revealing commentary on Coal Rolling here: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/bfvmgh/coal-rolling

Another good article from Slate.com 

From TYT University on Youtube:

If Coal Rollers continue to participate in toxic actions like this individual, they will quietly be weeded out of the gene pool by natural selection – and they should all win Darwin Awards for their ignorance.

breathedeep

UPDATE: The madness continues.  On March 20th, 2018 I witnessed the following and wrote about it on my Facebook page:

“I am not a violent person in any way. I think of myself as a gentle human being, a rational, thinking person who does not see violence or aggression as a way to fix anything.

However.

Today I witnessed an event that made me want to just grab the perpetrator and throttle them until they were a bloody pulp (although I would never have acted on my anger)!

What did I witness that enraged me past the tipping point?

Picture this. I was driving along in 25 mph heavy traffic and see on the opposite side of the road a female bicyclist that appeared to be in her mid-20s peddling the opposite direction on the sidewalk. Next, a large, raised, black pickup truck with huge tires and dark tinted windows pulls up alongside the cyclist, slows down, and, as I watched, a massive cloud of sooty, black diesel smoke billows out of the truck’s grossly-oversized-obviously-compensating-for-something exhaust orifice covering the cyclist with a cloud of toxic diesel exhaust along with the garish noise of ten thousand flatulent elephants!! The cyclist was coughing and waving her arm as she steered off of the sidewalk in obvious fear!!

It was clear that the action was 100% intentional and directed at the cyclist. It was also obvious that the small-minded, infantile, knuckle dragging, coward had modified his childish toy truck to emit toxic clouds of thick, black, smoke on demand in order to attack innocent pedestrians so they can get his jollies in whatever childish, demented way that harming other people and our shared environment provides him with.

The stupid toy truck and it’s cowardly inhabitants sped away as cowards always do and me, being logical and not reactionary, instead of chasing the slimy piece of maggot-ridden filth down and repeatedly stepping on his face – I promptly called the Highway Patrol and reported the incident. The officer stated that it was out of his jurisdiction however it could be considered some form of assault and should be called into 911 but in this case too much time had elapsed since the incident to do so. So f-ing frustrating!!! 

This may be a free country but we are not free to commit crimes such as this that are designed to target and harm others or our shared environment. Nor are we free to tamper with the emission control systems on our vehicles for any reason and we are not free to commit these acts of stupidity that those that modify their vehicles to do so call “coal rolling” or “rolling coal”, – this is an absolute hateful premeditated attack on others and on the environment and it should not go unpunished!

If you see this happen to try to get all the details including the license number if possible and then call 911, the sheriff, police, etc.

Lastly, if you participate in this “coal rolling” madness you are a simply a complete and total dumbass!

Just to highlight the ignorance of those who participate in the infantile act of “Coal Rolling” or “Rolling Coal” or whatever they call it – I offer up this recent comment by an angry coal rolling diesel smoke vomiting individual who did not like the reflection of themselves seen within the words of my article so I have calmly answered their insults in bold within their heated comment below:

“So the truck ended up NOT being illegally modified since in your words only a puff of smoke came out as he sped off..(while I have no facts to support any internal modifications of the truck – the outward appearance of the vehicle – giant tires, lift kit, grossly over-sized exhaust pipe exiting in a non-factory placement, audibly modified engine sounds suggesting internal modifications to said engine, and the driver’s actions of attempting to align his exhaust with my vehicle’s window – twice – strongly suggest otherwise.  I believe his vehicle was modified to “roll coal” but that something malfunctioned at the moment he was attempting to perpetrate his dastardly deed upon my Nissan Leaf)  and therefore he did absolutely nothing for you to be against him and that was still enough for you to sit down and take the time to write this snooze-fest of an insult??  (Yes, his actions – and yours – demanded my response.  No response would make me part of the problem.) You do realize that in order to produce your Leaf they cause way more harm to the environment in getting the batteries then a diesel will cause in a lifetime of use. (This is an incorrect statement that is not supported by any real peer-reviewed facts.  The actual facts can be found here: https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions and the update here: http://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-numbers-are-in-and-evs-are-cleaner-than-ever   and I encourage you to read and learn.)  Also, diesel trucks run at lower RPM’s throughout their lifespan causing them to last longer than any other vehicle on the road (While this may have been a fact in days past – days before mass-produced electric vehicles – it is not a fact any longer.  Diesel, gasoline – any kind of internal combustion engine needs hundreds to thousands of perfectly meshing interconnected parts that must work together with perfect timing and equilibrium.  If any one part becomes misaligned or malfunctions – the entire system fails.  The more complexity – the more chances of failure and inefficiency. The electric power-train of an EV has very few moving parts, therefore, it is vastly more reliable, stable, and efficient than anything powered by an internal combustion engine. “Basically these things don’t break,” Tony Seba, a clean energy expert and the founder of RethinkX, a think tank that forecasts changes in the transportation industry. “They have 20 moving parts, as opposed to 2,000 in the internal combustion engine, and even those 20 are electromagnetic, which means they don’t touch and don’t break down and, therefore, are far cheaper to maintain.” ) Once your batteries inevitably can’t hold a charge anymore they will need to be replaced impacting the environment greater then any fossil fuel powered vehicle will in its entire lifetime. (This is yet another incorrect statement that is not supported by any real peer reviewed facts.  Again, the actual facts can be found here: https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions and the update here: http://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-numbers-are-in-and-evs-are-cleaner-than-ever   and in another of my blog posts where I look deeply into that very issue so I encourage you to read them and learn and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.) Reading this god awful article has inspired me to flip a $5 switch which turns off my turbo and annihilate the next Nissan Leaf i see while I’m driving down the road, and I’ll laugh at how minuscule of an effect some unburnt, water-soluble soot (That un-burnt, water-soluble soot you speak of is highly toxic to life and has been proven to cause cancer in humans…I assume you are a human and you are therefore harming yourself and any friends, family, pets by your close association to your diesels exhaust.) has compared to a battery powered pos Nissan Leaf. I hope the next diesel you see does the same and you have to scrub that soot off with your liberal tears.”  Your last childishly hateful statement supports all of my reasons for writing this blog posting and more.  I truly feel sorry for you and hope that one day you will dig yourself out of the toxic waste, hate, and fear filled hole you have created for yourself.  I hope you will find a way to – just for once – drop all your venomous hatred of anything outside your comfort zone and just go take a ride in a Tesla Model S, 3, or X or even a humble little Nissan Leaf or better yet something more your style – the soon to be produced Bollinger B1 and B2 ,  Atlis XT , Rivian RT1 , Workhorse W-15 or Tesla Semi , or even the 2020 Tesla Roadster.  After you have taken a ride in an EV – any EV – I would hope you will be inspired to grow out of your childish love for the toxic toys of the past and once and for all detach yourself from the subscription to dependency that is feeding your solid attachment to the fossil fuel squirting teats of big oil and evolve into the future of transportation with the rest of us forward thinkers.  But…if you are unable to remove yourself from big oil’s toxic teats…there will come a time very soon where you will find that the oil-soaked teats will dry up and your internal combustion powered whatever will be totally worthless – a stranded asset…an over-sized paperweight.  The rest of the world will have gone EV and you will be stuck in the past with a worthless dinosaur that nobody wants.  It will be valuable only to collectors, internal combustion engine museums, or for its scrap value.  Its fuel will be grossly overpriced and overtaxed.  You will be forced to pay carbon taxes and pollution taxes just to turn on its out-dated engine so you can get your juvenile jollies listening to it rumble and watching it pollute the air with its poisonous effluent.  It will be very hard to find parts and when you do find them they will be very expensive.  It will be very hard to find the precious fuel that makes it work because most of the mom and pop stations will be forced to stop selling liquid petroleum due to the skyrocketing costs and all the others will have switched to EV quick charging stations like this one:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wkc7PUSyR0   

I know these predictions sound way out there but they are supported by facts, trends, and findings by many sources…some I have included below:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-07/electric-car-market-goes-zero-to-2-million-in-five-years

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/31/2-dozen-electric-vehicle-predictions-2018/

https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/27/the-rise-of-electric-car-will-kill-the-gas-station/

http://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2017/10/with_all_electric_future_predi.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2016/06/why_america_s_gas_stations_are_running_out_of_time.html

And then there is my take on why Max was mad and the end of gas.

Even Cummins Diesel is working on electric power-trains…

So my friends the times they are a-changin’ and you can either choose to adapt and evolve with the rest of us, or you can stay the same, stagnate,  and go the way of the dinosaurs that power your outdated old fossil powered machines.

UPDATE: 12/23/18 

On a related and truly bizarre note, recently a Tesla EV owner was charging at a Tesla Supercharger in Hickory, NC and reported on Reddit that a group of men in large, modified pick-up trucks intentionally blocked access to the Tesla Superchargers and chanted “F” Tesla before being kicked out by an attendant – crazy!  Below is a photo of the trucks blocking the chargers – note the two guys tinkering with their truck’s engine while the Tesla quielty charges – LOL.

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Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/a8rl0a/ive_never_had_a_supercharging_experience_like/?st=JQ0DQJLU&sh=73d632fe

It is truly sad that by trying to make a difference in our lives, working to do good things for the environment, supporting American companies that provide thousands of jobs – those of us who drive Tesla’s and other EV’s are targeted by small-minded infants such as these charger blocking idiots and air polluting “coal rollers” who would rather act out in retaliation of the inevitable change rather than accept it and be a part of it.

Imagine what would happen if EV drivers went around blocking gas/diesel pumps chanting hateful messages at Ford and Chevrolet owners – yikes.  Obviously, we EV owners are a bit more intelligent than that.

 

 

 

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The Future is NOW–Please consider helping crowdfund Solar Roadways

Yes, that’s right, Solar Roadways–driveways, parking lots, airports, tracks, and roads, paved with solar panels that convert solar energy into electricity that then power your house, electric vehicle, school, church, business…our entire society!

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It is a great idea that is happening now.

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Today is the time to be thinking about tomorrow.

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Today is the time to be making the future of clean energy generation and energy security a reality.

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I firmly believe that one of the answers to powering the future with clean, renewable, domestically generated, job producing energy is Solar Roadways.

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The Solar Roadways crew is not a huge corporate mega-monopoly hell bent on making power in the dirtiest way then pocketing your money and trying to shut down all the renewable energy companies…no.

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Solar roadways is Scott and Julie Brusaw.

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They are “normal” people just like you.

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With a cute dog named Chantilly that has no idea that it is walking on the future of clean energy generation.

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They are normal people with a vision of a future powered by clean solar energy generated from the thousands of miles or driveways, parking lots, airports, and roads that are just sitting out there cooking in the sun.

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The Brusaws are about to wrap up a crowdfunding campaign on Indegogo  that has so far generated over 2 million dollars that will go toward making Solar roadways happen!

If you are at all concerned about the future of anything good then please, consider helping the Brusaws fund their amazing idea.

Contribute and be part of positive change.

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Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Watch this incredible video that explains all the benefits of Solar Roadways.

All photos from Solar Roadways

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Bluewaterleaf is not affiliated with Solar Roadways–we just think it is a great idea that needs to happen.

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Great New Leaf TV Commercial

A great new Leaf commercial from South Africa! 

And then there is the classic Lance Armstrong Leaf commercial.

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Wildlife Conservation in a Nissan Leaf

A few days ago I drove my Nissan Leaf deep into the forest on a one lane dirt road in search of Zoe–Zoe is an adult Timber Rattlesnake!  I am following Zoe’s movements in order to learn more about the natural movements of a wild Timber rattlesnake in it’s natural habitat.  I bring my experiences and knowledge to the world via my Youtube chanel, nature blog and facebook page.  

This is probably the first time a Nissan Leaf has been used as a Timber rattlesnake tracking vehicle and possibly the first time a Leaf has been used in wildlife conservation.  

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After driving to the top of a steep mountain, parking at the end of a gravel road on a foggy, darkening mountainside I located Zoe and collected the vital biometric data and got ready to head home.  I noticed that my GOM said that I had ~41 miles of range remaining so I decided to take a remote, steep, one lane gravel road through the deep forest in order to benefit from the most regenerative braking and gravity assist (downhill) as possible to extend my range.  The only issue was a creek crossing–yes, a creek crossing.  It was a small creek but it must be crossed in order to make it back to the pavement.  Like any true pioneer I turned off the safety of the pavement and into the dark forest I plunged with LED headlights cutting  laser-like paths in the foggy blackness of the night.  Down and down the narrow, steep road wound until I came to the creek.  Would I tear out the bottom panels of the leaf on the rocks in the creek?  Would the leaf flounder and get stuck? Would it short out?  Like electrons through a wire all these questions and more went through my mind at warp speed…but I could not go back or turn around because the road was to narrow to do so…I was committed so I plunged into the creek…slowly…and the Leaf charged across with no apparent ill effects–woo hoo!!  Without so much as a wheel spin or slippage the Leaf negotiated the creek and the entire journey with no problems at all. While it may not be a 4×4 it is a very sure footed and capable car for steep, mountainous, gravel roads…and yes, even shallow creek crossings.

I must say that the car performed admirably while quietly climbing steep, wet mountain gravel roads without issue.  When I reached the bottom of the trek I realized that I had regenerated over 23 miles of range just by rolling downhill–amazing! Free power means more range, less money out of my pocket and less power I have to suck from the outlet and therefore a cleaner, greener ride!

When I arrived at home I glanced at the GOM and noticed that it was sitting on 41 miles range–the same range I had when I was at the top of the mountain at the start of the trek–truly amazing–the 12 mile drive home was powered by the car for free!

Watch the video of the adventure below!

The Leaf is an amazing vehicle!

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A few days after my snake tracking adventure I found myself in the city charging my Leaf alongside a Chevy Volt.

Premium parking + Free power = Bliss.

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Snake Tracks is a Timber Rattlesnake conservation and research project occurring near Earthshine Discovery Center in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers, glimpse into the lives of two wild Timber rattlesnakes in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog at: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers www.steepcanyon.com used with permission.

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National Plug In Day Asheville, NC A Charging Adventure

On September 29, 2013 I made a trip to Asheville, North Carolina on business.  The day also happened to be National Plug In Day and since I drive a Nissan Leaf EV I decided to visit a few of the charging options in the Asheville area.

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The first station I visited was the BrightfieldTS/Chargepoint solar charging canopy off of South Charlotte Street at the Asheville Public Works parking lot. It was easy to use but while I was there I had several non-EV drivers park in the EV only spaces–how rude.  Lucky for me I was able to get a slot and fully charge up the Leaf with no issues at all.

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The second station that I attempted to visit ended in charging failure–however, it was not the fault of the charger.  I had planned to visit the charging station on Aston Street at the Buncombe County DSS parking lot.  Upon arrival I was greeted with an empty lot with cables across the entryway and two unused charging stations sitting idle in the distance.  It seems that the parking lot is closed on the weekend so I was unable to access the chargers–what a bummer.  It seems like a waste to put two perfectly good charging station in a place where nobody can access them on the weekend when people are out and about wanting to spend money in town.  But trying to figure out why government does what it does is a losing battle so I drove on.

The third charging station I visited was the Chargepoint station at 81 Coxe Avenue.  This is a nicely located station if you are fond of one of Asheville’s claims to fame–local micro-brewed beer.  The charger worked flawlessly and while you wait for your charge you can take a few steps north to Asheville Brewing company–famous for its varied beers and wonderful pizza.  Or, only a few steps west of the station is Ben’s Tune Up Shop–a wonderful new restaurant and pub with great atmosphere and food–don’t miss it!

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The last station I visited was the BrightfieldTS charger on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville at the Reuters Center.  This station is also Solar powered and worked flawlessly.

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On the way to the last charging station I followed one of Asheville’s newest attractions–the Amazing Pubcycle–a pedal powered bar! What a cool concept, check it out in my video below and at www.amazingpubcycle.com

My Plug In Day adventure was a great success, I only wish I had seen more EV’s on the road–I saw not a one. Maybe next year I will organize a Plug In Day event in the WNC area, anyone want to join me?

Watch a video of my adventure below.

This is a map of the charging stations that are currently available and operational (but not always accessible as I found out) in the downtown Asheville, NC area.  Get yourself to Asheville and plug it in! Click the map for a larger view and more information.

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Dirt Road Leaf

Just the other morning while driving to work on the three mile uphill forest road part of my morning commute, I stopped to snap this photo of sunbeams spilling through the forest canopy.

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The morning felt surreal with the soft sunlight and sounds of the forest on the quiet country road.  I was moved by the beauty of the morning as I continued on my drive up the mountain to work.  I lowered the windows and as I drove on I could hear only the forest sounds and the crunch of my tires on gravel–not the growl of an internal combustion engine as in my Toyota 4Runner.

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While the Leaf is primarily a road car, it does surprisingly well on gravel, mountainous roads and handles wonderfully.  I do not drive the three miles at speeds much above 25-30  and the Leaf takes the turns well and negotiates the shallow wash outs and washboards with ease and no excessive vibration.

I am constantly finding new reasons to love my Leaf.  From handling on and “off” road to being able to hear the sounds of the forest and my music to only paying around $1.50 per day for energy–the Leaf is a true marvel of modern technology and I am 100% happy with my EV purchase.

If you are tired of paying for petroleum,  tired of padding the wallets of the big oil barons and want to lower your carbon footprint–then you owe it to yourself to test drive a Leaf or other EV today.

If you power your home with renewable energy and are either off the grid or grid tied or if you have a source of renewable energy on your land such as solar, hydro or wind then you could switch to and EV and drive for free!  Think about the freedom it would give you, how much money you would save and how you would be part of the solution!

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